Foreigner confirmed as 5th Zika case in Vietnam

By Nam Phuong   September 16, 2016 | 08:59 pm PT
The man tested positive for the virus soon after returning to Taiwan from a wedding in the Mekong Delta.

A 63-year-old Taiwanese man has tested positive for the Zika virus right after returning home from Vietnam, health authorities confirmed Friday.

This is the fifth case of the mosquito-transmitted infection that the Southeast Asian country has recorded.

The patient arrived in Vietnam on August 22 and returned to Taiwan on September 4.

He started showing symptoms often linked to the Zika virus on September 6, including fever, rash, headache, and swollen lymph nodes. A hospital in Taiwan then confirmed that he was infected with Zika.

While in Vietnam, the victim traveled to the southern province of Tra Vinh where he attended his son’s wedding.

It's highly likely that the man was contracted with the virus during his stay in Tra Vinh, according to Vietnam's General Department of Preventive Medicine.

The health ministry has asked Tra Vinh authorities to take measures to prevent a potential outbreak and send blood samples of individuals with suspected Zika symptoms to Ho Chi Minh City for further testing.

On Thursday, a German woman was reportedly infected with the virus through mosquito bites in Vietnam before she traveled to Japan. The patient has recovered and has returned to work in Ho Chi Minh City.

In July, Vietnam confirmed its third case of Zika in the southern province of Phu Yen. In April, two Vietnamese women became the first confirmed cases of the virus in the country.

Earlier this year, Vietnam raised its alert against the virus when an Australian tourist tested positive after leaving the country on March 6, state media reported.

The Zika virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. The World Health Organization (WHO) said sexual transmission is "relatively common" and has advised pregnant women not to travel to areas with ongoing outbreaks of Zika virus.

The WHO said the virus has been linked to increased rates of microcephaly, which is characterized with unusually small heads, in babies born to infected mothers.

Zika is now prevalent in Asia, with infections confirmed in China, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

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